County commissioner wants more options for seniors, mobility-impaired voters

‘I couldn’t get everything done that we wanted to,’ says Justin Rodriguez

Some senior citizens and people who are mobility impaired are still planning to go the traditional route and vote in-person on election day.

SAN ANTONIO – Many of those in line outside the Bexar County Elections Office dropping off their mail-in ballots have been seniors, many of which are mobility-impaired.

Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez, who represents Precinct Two, said he had wanted to give those voters more options.

We’re in a global pandemic, and we need to innovate,” Rodriguez said. “But, I couldn’t get everything done that we wanted to.”

He said for instance, having several drop-off locations instead of one at the Bexar County Elections Office would have been helpful.

“I think there was some disagreement on whether that was practical to get set up,” Rodriguez said.

Since then, Governor Greg Abbott mandated counties with election offices with branch locations now can only have one.

Unlike Harris County that has an elected county clerk who handles elections, “We have an independent elections administrator, a separate office.”

Rodriguez said he also wanted to have drive-thru voting, but that was ruled out, primarily to limit possible exposure to the coronavirus by reaching inside a vehicle with a computer pad for voting.

Yet, he said, that’s often what election workers have to do with curbside voting that will be available at all 284 voting sites on Election Day.

Rodriguez said the commissioner’s court has “essentially opened up our checkbook” to give Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen the resources to hire additional help.

He also strongly urges seniors and mobility-impaired voters, if possible, to take advantage of extended early voting from October 13-30, or request a mail-in ballot before October 23.

Rodriguez said, “I think there’s hopefully some lessons learned here and we can improve moving forward.”

RELATED: Here’s how, where to vote early in Bexar County


About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.